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Thread: STRONGBACK DISCUSSION etc.

  1. #16
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    Commander Compression Post

    The top plate/fitting for my compression post seems to be crushing as though the plate that is the bottom is being driven up into the fitting. Pictures when I get to the boat later this week.

    I read the sections on compression posts but I am still not clear what I am dealing with in terms of removing/replacing what I have. I know that plate that the mast sits on was replaced by the former owner with one he had fabricated from a phenolic material similar to what has been use for blocks.

    Oh well, all can't be bad. I put the first coat of varnish on my stripped and filled grabrails, and the Red Sox won behind Tim Wakefield on his birthday. This is Boston after all.
    John G.
    Valhalla
    Commander No 287

  2. #17
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    Senor Ebb -

    Par for your course, the work is excellent and shows much thought and even more labor! The 1/2 solid dodger - great idea, will have to ponder that one. I have been planning to build (make?) a firehose-frame dodger, a la Yves Gelinas on "Jean-du-Sud" . Combining the two ideas deserves some consideration...

    Anywho, I've begun (de)construction belowdecks. After dropping the mast this past Sunday, I decided to go ahead with the strongback modification while it is down, and before I put it back up.

    The past couple of days I've been battling a head cold, but today I got fed up with just lying around feeling ill, and took out my aggression on the strongback and bulkhead. The strongback is now lying on the cockpit seat, and the bulkhead is cut away to within 2" of the top of the standard locker countertops. The "main cabin" is now open to the v-berth, and it really makes a difference in how the interior "feels"!!! I love it, it's like the boat is bigger already. Hopefully by the end of the week/early next, I'll begin reconstruction of the structural components I've removed. I'll be posting pics in my Gallery thread soon...

    So anyway, I have a question for you concerning your strongback -

    Basically - What are it's dimensions? That's to say: How many inches thick is it in its vertical and horizontal cross section? I'm trying to get an idea of what I'm seeing back on page 1 of this thread, and in the latest pics...

    I've decided to go with a wide, low-profile design for the strongback, about 2" 'thick', and 8" wide (or more - I'll be removing some of the headliner to do this). Reasoning: keep the interior as visually open as possible, while making sure that my non-engineered solution is far and away stronger than what was in this boat for 40 years (which was surprisingly slapdash, once I could see it upon tearing it apart). I think it'll be all composite, glass and foam, mostly glass.

    I drew a line onto the bulkhead and s/b before tearing it apart, to get an idea of how much space that was, and I think it'll be sufficient for getting the material I need in there. Yours looks to be about the same size as the strongback which was original - is this so? Thanks!
    Kurt - Ariel #422 Katie Marie
    --------------------------------------------------
    sailFar.net
    Small boats, long distances...

  3. #18
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    Hey Kurt, excellent!
    Did I miss what wood you will use for the compression beam?
    Depends on where the struts, the verticals are going. All the way to the cabin side (as 338) or are you keeping the forward stateroom, and will have a doorway?

    Could guess that if you were going with the doorway 2 X 8 would be OK. In white oak. Wider apart and deflection could be a factor. I would go to 2 1/2" And I might think to lag in a piece of 5/16" steel on edge - cut exactly to the arc of the cabin roof - as insurance. There is a problem with this if you are laminating: your lags are going into the lams which spoils their integrity.

    There is good reason why beams are usually deeper rather than flat. You know you'd have a superior beam if you put the 8" on edge. I think 338's is like 2 3/4 X 5. With smaller section plain whiteoak struts on the sides, at the ends of the beam.

    Maybe you could weld up a 2 X 8 s.s. arc as a 'C' channel. That might work good. No wood, just steel. Very good, if you through bolted across the cabin top the whole length.
    Don't think I'd do away with some kind of verticals going down to the berths.
    Theoretically any arch can't deflect if its ends cannot move. On the Triton site at least one guy assured his cabin arc by fabricating a curved athwartship mast base - thrubolted with the beam, no doubt.


    At the end of the cabinsole where the V-berth deck rises -right there at the doorway in the bulkhead - I've glued in at 2'' thick mahogany 'floor'* (crosspiece) and I will be doubling that (and maybe a bit more) thinking that I may have to put a compression pole in because the beam is not adequate. They naturally end where the original settees rise. With a pad on them and the pieces fitting well andthe remaining pieces of the old bulkhead tabbed in solid they may spread the load of the mast over the keel well enough. I've heard that poles are great to grab onto below. Imagine a well rehearsed two handed 180 swing from a crouch to a 360 landing on the Airhead...

    White oak is not a wood for gluing. Tannins mean the resorcinol won't work. Can't remember about brown glue (the powdered stuff} but white oak? don't think so. There are enough complaints about Gorilla urethane glue to keep me off it. No 'soft' glue will hold stress lamination. And epoxy requires a glue line. Might talk with Smith & Co. about their epoxy AllWoodGlue.

    If the beam appeared to be molded into the cabin, not featured, but was disappeared, nicely rounded, into the cabin painting scheme, I bet you could go deeper on the beam scantling and be positive (almost) that the mast would stay out of the accommodation. Incorporating a number of fastenings thru the lamination might insure the mast won't crack it and delaminate. Be cool if you could carve the beam out of a curved branch. Indeed, if you rounded the bottom, curved it like a branch you'd gain more strength without it being obvious.

    Interesting problem.

    Epoxy has to have a glue line. In curved lams prebending by steaming would allow gluing without force. If your lams are thin and easy to bend (1/8"), and if you have the time: gluing up a few at a time, letting them get hard, and continuing with a few more, etc could work. Gluing a bundle of wood together under stress is not correct anyway. The piece will want to straighten itself out (flatten) which is not what we want to happen - so why build it in?
    Wide lams may be difficult to set up a jig and to clamp. But the beam is pretty small. Gluing the beam to the boat would add strength and solidity.
    Screws could be used to hold lams together while gluing and backed out after set. I have a bunch of 1/4" luan 1 1/2" squares with a hole in the middle. Drive them in with a grabber to tighten up pieces, get a bulge out.

    I think you have to give attention to supporting the full width of the 8" beam with 8" wide verticals. Gotta support the beam!

    Go for it!

    __________________________________________________ ________________________________
    *floors connect ribs together over the keel in traditional wood boats. Each pair of ribs, port and starboard, would have a floor, each floor fastened to the keel. Snobby using a term like that in a lit'l ole plastic Ariel. oh well...
    Last edited by ebb; 08-17-2006 at 12:49 AM.

  4. #19
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    Included is a quicky graphic* I did up to illustrate my current thinking. I'm with you on the stiffener thinking: Since the vertical component of an I-beam is what makes it resistant to downward bending, I have been trying to figure the best way to incorporate that into a 2" thick structure which could resist the compression forces put on it by the mast. I've ruled out wood, because I think that in what I'm going to do it will only add extra weight, w/out adding any extra strength. I'll be relying on glass for strength. Too bad, I like the look of wood! But it will be elsewhere in the cabin, so...

    In a nutshell, to build the beam: Lay up the glass onto a sheet of 3/4" thick foam (one side at a time), putting a total of 1/8" thickness glass on each side of the foam. This can be done with the foam in a horizontal position, making it easy to control wetting out, and to control alignment of the glass fibers in the cloth to achieve maximum strength in the finished beam. Once both sides are glassed and cured, carefully cut the 1" thick individual "slices" of the beam to a template taken directly from the hull, then bond the 'slices' to each other. After the slices are assembled into a unit, glass on the outer layers (top and bottom skins of beam).

    When this entire beam assembly is cured, it gets bonded into/under the deck, bedded in glass and "ebb's mishmash" , drawn up into place with screws and/or bolts until cured. Use more mishmash to filet the edges of the beam to the deck for smooth transitions, and then, last, laminate on a final overskin of glass.

    I plan to put 2 vertical stainless poles in place where the old doorframe verts were, they should give additional support and handholds. I 'mocked this up' yesterday to see how they would look visually, and they don't detract from the 'open' feeling the cabin has with most of the bulkhead removed (which I am loving!). At the bottom, they will tie in to reinforced floors similar to what you have done.

    Whatcha think?


    *(((As I was just making the graphic, the thought came to mind: "Hey, there's also the space between deck skins which could be incorporated!". Hmmm - doing so would give structure which would not protrude down into cabin space (good!), but it would involve much more work - remove outer deck skin once new beam was in place, build structure in where the current balsa core is, then replace deck skin. An idea which deserves further thought, and which someone else might be able to use at some point, so I've included it...)))
    Attached Images  
    Kurt - Ariel #422 Katie Marie
    --------------------------------------------------
    sailFar.net
    Small boats, long distances...

  5. #20
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    note to all 'beam' builders out there....Plywood is VERY strong when on edge (vertically).4 layers of 3/8th ply would give GREAT strength as long as the bottom edge was 'trimmed' out with wood so as to keep it from deflecting for/aft under load. I know little about boatbuilding,but in home building we often use plywood as an additional laminate when building a beam to increase the compression strength. WAY stronger than conventional wood.

  6. #21
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    Frank -

    I assume that is so because the wood fibers run in different directions in a ply? (as opposed to the same direction in a normal piece of wood.)

    I'd considered using plywood in this manner, but thought I might get a stiffer vertical with the glass 'ribs' like in the graphic.

    So - I could do the beam then with 14-16 'slices' of 1/2' ply, bonded together with a couple layers of 6 oz cloth between each, make it 1 3/4" thick in the vertical dimension, and cap it with 1/4" of glass...? All this would get the same final treatment - completely encapsulated and bonded to the underside of the deck, as noted above.

    It might be quicker to do that way. One thing I liked about all-composite, though, was no worries about water penetration. Could take care of that with much care in sealing things up I guess...
    Kurt - Ariel #422 Katie Marie
    --------------------------------------------------
    sailFar.net
    Small boats, long distances...

  7. #22
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    beamish ramblings

    Indeed. I do like the multiple I-Beam composite, great graphic. It's an engineering challenge! EG how thick do you make the webs? The more you think about it the more feasible it becomes.

    The verticle supports inside, two placed about where the original doorway is, should do it. Could also buildup wide pads on the beam to spread the 'point load' of the supports.

    Mike Goodwin introduced us to maranti "Aquaply" and "Hydroply" which are superior in every way to American fir - that stuff would make a good arch - ala Frank's post. Thanks, buddy! 3/8" of maranti equals 3/4" american fir. I would not use FinnPly. Would caution that cutting the 2" wide curved pieces out and gluing those together side to side to get your width is not such a good idea. There still will be flex don't you think? Could you put it on the floor and jump on it??? Even with the extra wide width I think there is not enuf 'meat' in 2 inches. Would like to debate this. I'd be happier with 2 1/2". Plus the two columns inside. As you know it's imco. Frank, though, of course meant bending 1/4" over a form and gluing up a 2, er, 2 1/2" stack! Only with meranti.

    A composit structure composed of two skins separated by foam, endgrain balsa, honeycomb -essentially a nonstructural filler - will be stiffer than a solid lay up. Also lighter of course. But we can't forget that the load on the beam is concentrated in one place. Spreading out that point load is very important. Correct?

    What we learned about an unrestored Ariel with a flattened cabin-crown under the mast is that the original Pearson structure (beam, strut braces and bulkhead) while funky was still working and in good shape. (On 338 anyway.) The structure had probably 'settled' or shrunk over the decades allowing the rigging to pull down on the mast. That is, it was more of a result of aging materials rather than the weight of the mast, or rot. After the two screws that hold the round wood maststep to the beam inside were removed, the composite cabin top popped back up to it's original crown!! Or pretty close to it - how about that?? That's the challenge confronting the renovator. We need to make some structure that will not move over time. This time. Or one that can be adjusted up when needed. I'll take the immovable, with some redundancy built in. And everything GLUED IN. We live in the age of incredible glue.

    If one had the time, testing various structural ideas would be revealing. We'd need the various arcs and a carjack and some sort of meter. But doing this in the imagination is a good alternative. One can 'see' the various ideas and how they might be expected to react to a carjack (or an unmetered jumping attack by a twohundredfifty pounder wearing Redwings!) trying to straighten them out.

    I'm oldfashioned and think solid heavy oak will do. But a well thought out composit of carbon fiber and the best epoxy would be much lighter and more in keeping with the technologic advances of this era......... Would be a curious jig to come up with! Vacuum bagging, anyone?

    The load on the compression beam is constant - and no doubt there'll be times when sailing that the load exceeds the norm, would be constant AND 'pumping.'

    Gotta go to work


    __________________________________________________ ______________________________
    (Supposed to be working...) How about bent square (rectangular) steel tube? Easy to get the arc done. Get the best curve, weld four of them togther side to side. Fill the odd angles and spaces up top with epoxy mix using the beam with a film release. Take it down. Then glue it back up with rubber. No?

    Might get a clear span out of that one. And however the supports go, they also could be the same tube all welded together. There's that old problem of what the finish will be: chromium oxide? Wait a dang minit... Use the best quatity iron (the other steel) tube and get it galvanized. No stinkun chromium oxide and no sticky epoxy!!!
    Last edited by ebb; 08-17-2006 at 11:19 PM.

  8. #23
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    Been thinking on this, and will be until I start doing something about it...

    I took Franks post to mean that the ply - used as a stiffener - would be *on edge* (its laminates placed in a vertical orientation, like end-grain balsa). Each individual layer of wood being, in effect, the vertical component of an "I" beam. The fibers of the wood in the ply would be more-or-less vertical if it were installed that way. Laminated together flat the fibers would be horizontal, and function more like a leaf spring, right? Seems like that would be so...

    Point loading: Exactly - I'm thinking "wide" in order to spread the point load of the mast base out.

    The mast base pad on Katie measures a bit over 7.5" in diameter, but this sat on only a total (strongback + bulkhead edge) of 3.5" of structural support from belowdecks. (Not to mention that someone at the factory neglected to install the diagonal braces on this particular Ariel...) By making the beam 8" wide, I should see a lot more support from below.

    I saw a different reaction than what you did when the deck was relieved of the mast burden. Mine has remained in the same slightly depressed shape, it didn't spring back up like yours did. I likely had more compression, due to my missing diagonal braces, though. In fact, I see evidence under the side decks that they flexed to a point which caused minor cracking - zoiks! So I am very much interested in spreading the load as far and as wide as I can, so that more of the deck/hull structure shares the burden.

    I've given a lot of thought to different metal tubings as a brace. The ultimate would be 2" aluminum round tube, bent and welded in a shape just like that of the underdeck and hull shape, clear down and around. It would be as light as possible, very stiff and structurally strong, I think you could even do away with the entire bulkhead if you wanted, and it would look nicely "techno". It would not be cheap, however - I'd have to sell both CrewDogs and at least 1 kidney to be able to afford that! I think that if you welded up several square tubes, bent to fit the underdeck curve, you wouldn't need to fill them with anything other than some type of anticorrosive agent. But that would be complex, probably not cheap, and probably heavier than a wood or composite beam. Perhaps an I-beam made of flat plate, the top of it curved to mate the underdeck would work well, and be fairly easy and cheapest for a welder to make up. Maybe a wide box-shape, something like that. I don't weld, though, so someone else will have to pursue that route...

    ---------------------------

    This weekend, I am going to take some scrap ply that I have - it's 1/2" or 5/8" - and rip it into 2" wide strips, then screw them together to make a 6-8" wide "test beam" - no curve, just a flat piece as long as the strongback will be. I'll put it up on some bricks or something, and jump up and down on it, maybe jack up my Toyota and set it down on it, see if I can destructively test it to get an idea of how strong such a construct might be. Kinda like that TV show.

    If it proves strong enough, then next week I'll make one to fit the boat, tab it in similar to how the original strongback was tabbed (quick and easy), and then get some galvy pipe to support it with from belowdecks. At that point I'll be able to put the mast back up for some testing. It won't be hard to remove if it:

    a) either doesn't work, or

    b)works great, and just needs to be put it in properly - bedded in mishmash and glassed all over.
    Kurt - Ariel #422 Katie Marie
    --------------------------------------------------
    sailFar.net
    Small boats, long distances...

  9. #24
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    Hmmmm, sounds like fun.
    338 miraculously (knock on wood) has its balsa in decent shape. There was not much deterioration under the mast step. It may be that the balsa inside yours is tuna fish. If that is so the repair is easy (I did it!). Just cut the top off over the whole area where the mast sits and replace it with solid lams of xmatt. Gain a little strength there.......oh, and weight!

    It's a toss up on the weight of a structure, tho some are a lot lighter, like carbon fiber. Even glass and foam can get heavy. I know, I keep creating that problem.

    It's gonna be what you 'see' is right. It's already been done exactly as imagined. Just hasn't been installed yet. My vast experience has been that it nearly always is the first vision you had to solve the problem. Then you embroider or doubt it. Notwithstanding Edison's 10,000 trys at inventing the lightbulb.
    Later.......
    Last edited by ebb; 08-18-2006 at 09:33 AM.

  10. #25
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    Kurt...Quick note on the plywood thing. By 'on end' or 'vertically' ...I mean..as if you were putting the sheets on a wall,not a floor. Multiple layers 'on a wall' so to speak are extremely strong. Just incase I was confusing. OK OK..I know I'm confusing...

  11. #26
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    OK, so if you do jigsaw the 2 inchers out of ply and glue them up face to face - you will end up with a lot of short grain. Even more short grain in cut curves. Couldn't agrue that that plywood structure is particularly strong at all. Nix that. Plus it's too much work - and wastes expensive ply.

    Plywood bent flat, two inches built up of 8 layers of 1/4" marine ply wil be about twenty times stronger than that on edge stuff. A 2X8" made like this might not flex at all. But what are the loads? You will be cancelling any flex with interior supports. In 1/4" you might prebend the 8" strips - taking some stress out of the lamination. A little hot water, a hot day, and a black tarp.
    Maybe prebend DRY it in the form for a few days. but overbend it, ie a smaller radius so that they might relax back to the curve of the form.

    Could glue up 6 pieces of ply, let it set up hard, cut out the center, put it back in the form, layin some pvc foam with epoxy gel in the hole and glue on a top and bottom of 1/4". Don't think it would act exactly like a composit - it might be stiffer - but it would be lighter. Don'i know that the saving would be worth it.

    What's the matter with overbuilding the compression beam anyway???
    Last edited by ebb; 08-18-2006 at 02:43 PM.

  12. #27
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    Ain't nothing wrong with overbuilding !! I know that in 'i-beam',floor joists or roof rafters that 7/16th OSB on edge with a 2x3 top/bottom holding it, go WAY farther on spans than I figure it should/would....but the engineers say yep.On your big arch I can see where it would be too much waste etc....but the average guy supporting his 'stock' under mast support would find great additional strength by simply laminating a nice piece of mahogany 3/8th ply to each (for/aft) side. Way easier than the steel bolt on in the manual and looks better too.

  13. #28
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    I dout there would be much waste, the arch wouldn't have to be continuos per ply, just dont pile up the joints in line with each other, the glue is stronger then the wood anyhow. If I were to do it I'd likely do it in 1/3 - 1/2 - 1/3 . . . plys put em in a vac bag, and wala. If you wanted to over kill the joints, scarf them.

    Edit: As Frank mentioned the Tj's (the osb capped by dim lumber) can and do span further and hold more weight on the longer span then their relitively sized solid wood joists.
    Last edited by tha3rdman; 08-19-2006 at 07:53 AM.
    #97 "Absum!"

  14. #29
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    no problema, senor

    Thing is Epiph wants a 2" deep beam that is 8" wide. The width is a valiant attempt to gain some mass, so that the unusual shallow beam will not want to bend. As I understand it, the original concept is to create a number of mini verticals inside the 2X8 to get that on edge stiffness in the width of the proposed bridge.

    The problem is to create a non-flexing structure in a 2" X 8" parameter.

    I'm absolutely sure that you cannot cut 2" wide vertical arcs out of ply and glue them side to side to make a 2" X 8" curved beam. You can ofcourse, but the resulting pieces are essentially 85% SHORT grain. And the finished piece no matter how much epoxy glue will not be very strong The only way to get the full benefit of ply is to glue it up in a short stack conventionally.

    A solid 2" X 8" glued up mahogany plywood beam wouldn't weigh much more than the 8# of the original white oak one. The beam is less than 4' long. There isn't very much to bend here.

    But it might bend.

    But it WILL NOT BEND if the 2" X 8" beam is supported at the ends AND WITH
    ONE OR TWO COLUMNS. A well constructed strut that has a very solid base.

    You could put a compression pole right under the mast down to the keel and get away with no beam at all. Done all the time.

    The original beam is 4 1/4" in the middle tapering to 2 1/2" on the ends. It is 2 3/4" wide. It is a very efficient, nice looking piece as designed. In no way could it be bent by the mast. Unless it rotted.

    The only way the cabin top flattens (and it is really minimal: 1/2" maybe a bit more, limited experience here) is that the wood structures in the boat settled (and/or the balsacore in the composit cabintop rots) - with help from above. The beam remains unchanged. The bulkhead, beam and vertical struts were all carpentered DRY into place by the factory. Designed to move in time!!!

    Dry means no glue was used (in 338). When anybody renovates in 2006, you want to glue in a monolithic composit solid mast support. No fooling around this time.

    Can we get Epiph's 2" minimum??? No problem!
    Last edited by ebb; 08-19-2006 at 09:43 AM.

  15. #30
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    Clarification and strongback forensics

    Again, the materials used in late-model "Katie Marie" prove to be different than that used in earlier boats...

    Of course, she had no diagonal braces, so I am sure that that had an effect on what I see with her OEM strongback. Although it is *not* rotted, it *has* cracked (see pics, cracks are evident). Without diagonals, it was under more stress, I'm sure. Additionally, it is a solid 1/2" less in the vertical dimension than what ebb measured on his strongback (3.75" vs ebb's 4.25"), and only 1 3/4" wide (1" less than ebb's!) - so it is a significantly smaller beam. Yet she still sailed on for 40 years almost...

    One thing I noticed, and mentioned before IIRC - the flexation (is that a word? it is now... ) of the side decks, forward of the bulkhead, which resulted in some cracking of the inner deck skin there. I see no evidence of this cracking on the after side of the bulkhead. It is because of this evidence of force transmittal that I decided to go with the wider beam. I think it was point loading which was responsible for the cracking - the deck was trying to bend around the bulkhead. (!!!) So, to clarify what I think may be a misconception because I didn't clearly state it before: The width of my upcoming beam is only in the smaller part an attempt to make up for its reduced thickness; primarily, in my addled mind, the increased width is to spread loads across the structure while stiffening it to alleviate/cancel any torsional loads. Do dat make sense?

    By way of explanation: I know that the beam will flex downward, even if only incrementally, when the boat is under strain of full sail and pounding into seas. Said bending will transfer the load out to the cabin trunk sides. Visualization: hold your hands, halfway cupped, fingertips touching at the top of a small arc, to simulate the arch shape of the inside of the cabin trunk. The mast sits on your fingertips. Imagine it pushing down, simulate it with your hands, you can see that it transfers that force out to the sides. End result: the cracking I see. A wide beam will spread that load across more surface area, which translates into more strength, and less of a load at any one point. Right? It will serve in a similar manner to do what the diagonals Katie never had would have done, had they been there.

    *That's* why I want the width. Spreading the love...

    I'm not counting on the entirety of the strongback to support the mast, just a small part of it. I'll be supporting the mast in the vertical with 2 metal poles I will put roughly in place of the former doorway frame. The poles will contact the strongback beam and cabin sole on wide bases. Up top, under the mast, center-to-center of these bases will only be about 16", so the span which needs to be strong enough to resist the crushing force of the mast will be unsupported for less than 14".

    I am still designing it in my mind, haven't yet settled on that which feels "right". I've been thinking 2" thick on the beam because I think that done properly it will be strong enough, as well as a being visually nice. I haven't ruled out a thicker spot in the beam under this area, tapered into the rest of the beam for visual flow and load-spreading. I suppose I also could go with a metal plate in this span area, and go even thinner on the beam, since it will be poles doing most of the work.

    Last, I'd assemble the beam of vertically-aligned plywood pieces with resin *and* glass cloth between the layers of ply, like in my "boxes" drawing, not just resin or glue. By using plywood instead of foam for the core material, I think it should add strength/stiffness.
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    Kurt - Ariel #422 Katie Marie
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